Movie Review: ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: Vol. 2’ – Heart, Humour & Helluva Lot Of Fun!
‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ was the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film from Marvel Studios that was considered to be a risk due to many factors; an unknown group of characters, an obscure comic book property, a cast of relative unknowns with the only known faces being cast as voice actors, and a director that prior to had only done smaller budget indie films. The film ended up being the surprise hit of the entire Marvel franchise. My Review of ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ can be found here.
‘Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2’ has loads of heart and humour as a successful sequel to an unexpected hit franchise.
Director James Gunn has proven himself an adept storyteller that can make a compelling movie about an ensemble cast of characters that can all be relateable, and ones that the audience instantly connect with. For ‘Vol. 2’ of the MCU film, Gunn sets the premise of the story around two bits of throw away lines from the first film; the origin of Peter Quill’s father. The film centers its story around that character, and during his discovery of where he comes from, we also get to see others grow and evolve, as well as making an unexpected connection to a character from the first film.
Marketing of the film have already revealed Ego (Kurt Russell) to be Peter’s (Chris Pratt) father. So it’s not a spoiler to discuss that in this Movie Review. The story of ‘GOTG: Vol. 2’ begins with a flashback of Ego with Peter’s mother, showcasing their love story, reminding us of her dying words from the first film. The scene following that moment perfectly encapsulates why this franchise is so damn successful, as the opening credits set the tone of the film with hilarious shenanigans that will put a smile on your face for the entire duration of the on-screen events. The way Gunn handles the opening credits will let everyone in the audience, fans and newcomers, of exactly what to expect from this movie.
The rest of the movie sees Peter getting to know his father, trying to re-capture his lost childhood. While Gamora (Zoe Saldana) deals with her own family issues with the return of Nebula (Karen Gillan) as they try to work out their, let’s say estranged, relationship. Family is the recurring theme of this film, but unlike ‘The Fate Of The Furious’, it’s handled with more subtlety and emotion, coming off as genuine than hackneyed. The highlight of the film is the elavation of Yondu (Michael Rooker) into part of the main cast.
The grey shaded Ravager from the first film is humanized immensely in ‘Vol. 2’, as the audiences gets his backstory, and why he decided to keep Peter with himself, rather than deliver him to his father as was planned. Again, all story elements from the first film, so it’s not really a spoiler. Rooker more or less steals the show from the rest of the cast, as his story is truly heartwarming and heartbreaking. His scenes with Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) are full of humour and heart. the dynamic between them almost replaces the one shared by Groot (Vin Deisel) and Rocket from the first film. Speaking of Groot, despite his self sacrifice in the last film, the character is mostly comic relief in ‘Vol. 2’, but even his minor impact to the story is sweet and touching.
Going solo for the writing duties of ‘Vol. 2’, Gunn doesn’t only write great exchanges between the characters and get equally impressive performances from his cast as a director, he is also able to work in enough outrageous action and over all spectacle to move things along and create a fast paced adventure movie with an emotional core. The action set pieces are incredibly engaging and visually stunning, with just enough humour and ridiculous moments sprinkled in for the audience to be completely living in the moment.
‘Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2’ is incredibly funny. Along with Baby Groot, this time around Drax (Dave Bautista) is truly the funny one. Drax is optimistic, adventurous, loving life and showing it in every possible scene and its incredible to watch. While I would’ve preferred an in-story explanation for why the previously grumpy and straight faced Drax is now all of a sudden the life of the party, it’s the most minor of complaints from a movie that is exceptionally well done.
While I had issues with Rusell’s performance in ‘The Fate Of The Furious’ just a few weeks ago, it’s incredible what the actor can do when directed well, as evident by his performance. Saldena and Gillan are always great in their peformances, while Pratt himself is charm personified no matter what he’s doing. The newer stand outs from ‘Vol. 2’ have to be Elizabeth Debicki (‘The Night Manager’) as Ayesha, leader of a race as the Sovereign, who the Guardians upset in the beginning of the film, and who seek to destroy them. Debicki is wonderful as the leader of a stoic race of superior beings, who are pulled into the dirt solely by how the Guardians treat them. It’s a fall from grace that is hilarious to watch and Debicki completely stuns and makes you take notice.
‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’ is a remarkable film that is able to tell a moving and touchign story about family of every kind; estranged, lost and even finding new family in the most unexpected of places. All the while the movie is still able to make you laugh and smile through those inevitable tears, as you go through their emotional journey, while fighting through ships in space and galactic tentacle monsters.